San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New Sentencing Held for U.S. Student’s Killers

The man and woman convicted of murdering Shannon Martin, a 23-year-old KansasUniversity student who was completing a study-abroad project in the Southern Zone port town of Golfito, are scheduled to be sentenced again today.

The re-sentencing comes after the Penal Branch of the Supreme Court (Sala III) supported an appeal by the killers’ defense team claiming the original sentencing was not done properly.

Martin was stabbed to death in Golfito in 2001 (TT,May 19, 2001), and her mother, Jeanette Stauffer, fought a three-year legal battle to bring the killers to justice.

Kattia Cruz and Luis Alberto Castro were convicted Nov. 24, 2003 of simple homicide, and each ordered to 15 years in prison (TT, Nov. 28, 2003). On an appeal, the sentence was upped to 30 years, however, the Sala III annulled the sentence in October 2005 and ordered it redone.

According to the October ruling, two of the three judges who ruled on the first appeal were also present during the original trial, and should not have taken part in giving the new sentence.

Tomorrow’s hearing is for a new sentence only, and does not put the verdict in doubt.


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